Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

See other formats


PABQAHA

ground Bad for some years remained unoccupied.   The case5 when brought into
court, was decided in favour of the Hindus, who thereupon set to work and
commenced the erection of a shrine to be dedicated to B&dh& Ballabh.    In dj^
gkg the foundations, they came upon the remains of the old temple, which I
rescued and brought into Ilathura.   They consist of 10 large pillars and pilag.
iers* in •ery good preservation and elegantly carved with foliage and arabesques
and also a number of mutilated capitals, bases, Ac., the whole series proving an
interesting illustration of the mediaeval Hinda style of architecture.    Their
•a!ue is increased by the fact that two of the shafts bear inscriptions, in which
the date is clearly given as Sambai 1128 (1072 A. D.)    The style that I call
fthe medieval Hindu/ and of which these pillars afford a good late example
began about the year 400 A. D,, and continued to Sourish over the whole of
Upper India for more than seven centuries.    It is distinguished by the constant
employment In the capital, or upper half column, of two decorative features the
one being a flower-vase with foliage over-hanging the corners, and the other
a grotesque mask.   The physiognomy of the latter is generally of a very tin*
Indian type, and. the more so the further we go back, as is well illustrated by a
pillar in the underground temple in the Allahabad Fort.    The motif is precisely
the same as may be seen in many European cinque cento arabesques, where a
scroll pattern is worked up at the ends, or in the centre, into the semblance of
a human face.   The fashion with us certainly arose out of the classic renaissance
and in India also may possibly have been suggested by the reminiscence of a
Greek design.    But it was more probably of spontaneous and independent
origin 5 as also it was among our Gothic architects, in whoso works a similar
style of decoration is not altogether unknown.   In the earlier examples, such as
that at Allahabad, the face is very clearly marked; though even there the hair
of the head and the moustaches are worked off into a scroll or leaf pattern.   In
later work, of which numerous specimens may be seen in my collection of "anti-
quities in tte Mathura museum, the eyes are made so protuberant, and the
other features so distorted and confused by the more elaborate treatment of the
foliage and ft* introduction of other accessories, that the proportions of a human
feĽ are almost and in some cases are altogether destroyed.   The tradition
kowever exists to the present day 5 and a Mathura stone-mason, if told to carve.
a groteque for a corbel or string-course of any building, will at once draw a
design m which are reproduced all the peculiarities of the old models.
Sim is a place rf some note, as being the centre of a clan of Gaunia, U,
J           Ve their distkctive name of 'Btohhal' from the
They are numerous enough to form a considerable item in the